Daily repentance is a task every Christian must endeavor in. I set out in this post to make a biblical case for that exact idea. First, I would like us to listen to Christ’s words as he teaches his disciples to pray in the sermon on the mount. He tells his disciples to petition to God and this verse is included in those petitions.
“and forgive us our debts,Matthew 6:12
as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
Jesus here includes in his model of prayer for us a petition of confession and repentance. Question 112 of The Baptist Catechism1 shows us what is meant by this part of the model of prayer.
Q. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
A. In the fifth petition, which is, And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors (Mt. 6:12), we pray that God, for Christ’s sake, would freely pardon all our sins (Ps. 51:1, 2, 7, 9; Dan. 9:17-19); which we are rather encouraged to ask because of his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others (Lk. 11:4; Mt. 18:35).
It is a good practice to rehearse repentance on a daily basis. We as God to forgive us our sins because we have confidence in the atoning work of Jesus Christ as the Catechism states. From this we are shown and encouraged to forgive others sins against us because God has so forgiven wretched sinners like us. Is it good to frequently forgive your brothers and sisters as we wrong one another? To forgive our family members or those in close vicinity to us as we are wronged in daily life? In a similar manner, and a more important one, Jesus Christ is teaching his disciples in the sermon on the mount to frequently seek reconciliation to God, having a clear conscious before him. Jesus is teaching a model of prayer so our prayers ought to be structured in a similar fashion as Jesus’ is here. Contained in that prayer is an asking of forgiveness to our father.
When we do this, we are not asking God to justify us again, hence why Christ starts the prayer with “our Father”. This predicates that we are children of God. See what the apostle Paul says in Galatians,
“I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”Galatians 4:1-7
If we have a Father in heaven then that means that we have been redeemed by Christ. This is the truth taught here in Jesus’ model of prayer. My reminder to all who may read this is the importance of daily repentance before God. We want to have a clear conscious before God. Although we may not have lost our salvation, we have grieved his spirit and we need to in a sense be reconciled back to God. This is a good practice to make. Catholics destroy this teaching by their doctrine of confession, that you come before a man to absolve you of your sin. They claim the priest is standing in the place of God and actually cannot pardon sin. Why did David then in Psalm 51 not go directly to the priests or Uriah’s family to repent but instead he says, ‘For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.’ David new that when he had sinned that he is first to go to God and be reconciled to him and then his fellow man later as a byproduct. This is what is taught in the Lord’s prayer here that because God has so forgiven us we can go forgive other. There is an ordering to the thing though and it starts with God and not a man (like a priest or a friend).
I will end with on of my favorite verses on the matter than and old man that discipled me would always remind me of. This is a wise one to write on the tablet of your heart friend,
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”1 John 1:9-10
For The King, Rocky